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News | June 17, 2024

SGM-A Class 74 Graduates from NCOLCoE

By Andrew Smith NCOLCoE

On June 13 the Sergeants Major Academy held the graduation of its 74th class at the Don Haskin’s Center on the campus of the University of Texas in El Paso.  The nearly 500 students from the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and over 50 partner nations graduated the degree granting program, with many earning a degree in Leadership and Work Force Development.
 
During their year at the academy, the class volunteered over 1,000 hours of their time to different organizations within Fort Bliss and the El Paso community. Those included the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank, the Fisher House, USO, Rescue Mission of El Paso, Partners in Education and the Big Brother and Big Sister programs.
 
Army Training and Doctrine Command Commanding (TRADOC) General, Gen. Gary Britto attended the graduation and gave remarks to the graduating class.
“Your motto is ‘live the legacy.’ Very fitting as you share a stewardship in keeping our Army profession strong and helping to build combat readiness for our Army and joint force,” said Britto to the gathered class members. “I hope you are excited to get out there and make a difference in your battalions, brigades, staff sections, units and our profession.”

Britto also presented several awards to students for academic achievement, writing and physical fitness. He was in turn presented with an honorary diploma from the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence Commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Tammy Everette.
One of the graduates from a sister service was Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Victor Perez, a native of El Paso and a 15-year veteran of the Air Force and the son of immigrants from Mexico.
 
He joined the Air Force in 2008 after running away from home and living on his own for some time. He said his biggest inspiration for joining the military was his brother.
  
“As my older brother underwent the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, I was inspired to follow in his footsteps and join the Army. Unfortunately, I walked through the wrong door and found myself talking to an Air Force recruiter.”
  
Upon his graduation he will join the Secretary of the Air Force Enlisted Legislative Liaison Fellowship program at the Pentagon where he will be assigned to a Member of Congress to advise them on military-related issues.
 
“I am excited to return to the Air Force,” said Perez upon graduation. “I will use the knowledge and skills I gained at the Sergeants Major Academy to make a lasting impact. After months of analyzing strategic problem sets, I am ready to start solving them!” He added, “This past year has been one of the best in my career. As an El Pasoan, I proudly represent my city as I graduate from the Sergeants Major Academy. I had the opportunity to reconnect with my family in the area and watch my eldest daughter graduate from high school.”
 
Another graduate of Class 74 was Army Sgt. Maj. Victor Rivera-Rosado, a native of Puerto Rico who also saw this as one of the greatest achievements of his 19-year career so far.

“My time at the Sergeants Major Academy was transformative and deeply enriching. First and foremost, the relationships I built not only with fellow classmates but also the international partners. It is an amazing experience that creates new family of brother and sisters in arms here and around the world.”

After his time at the academy he is glad to have a chance to put his knowledge to use leading Soldiers in the Army as he heads to his next duty station in Alaska. “Returning to the force as a Sergeant Major fills me with a sense of pride and responsibility.  I am excited to apply the knowledge and skills I gained at the academy to support and lead my fellow Soldiers.”